ACM CEO Believes Carrie Underwood Should Have Been Included In EOTY Category

Written by SLN Staff Writer
ACM CEO Believes Carrie Underwood Should Have Been Included In EOTY Category

It’s inevitable… any time awards show nominees are announced, there are bound to be unhappy fans of the artists who were left out of the most popular categories. Most recently, fans of Carrie Underwood were left feeling the sting as she was not present in the ACM’s Entertainer of the Year category, an award that she has won twice. In response to the fan’s outcry, Country Aircheck found more information about how the nominees are determined. Read below for their findings…

Country Aircheck turned first to ACM Awards EoY criteria for the industry-voted nominating round: “Based on the top vote getters, there will be up to 8 (eight) final nominees.”

For a definition of how “up to eight” is decided, we turned to ACM CEO Bob Romeo. “Last year the board was trying something new and we changed the criteria to say ‘up to eight,'” he says. “But we felt that, on TV, it got to be too cumbersome. It took a long time in the monologue to address eight artists and required more time when the category was mentioned during the show. When you’re counting, literally, every second you have in a three-hour broadcast, we just didn’t see the benefit to the viewer of having eight nominees. So this year the board reverted back to five.”

The category grew to six nominees, as did Album and Single, because of a tie. “We had three ties, and statistically, that seemed high,” Romeo admits. “To be sure, we had the tabulations run twice. And it doesn’t matter where the tie is – second, third, fifth. We are inclusive. If there’s a tie in any one of the positions, we bump the category by one more slot and take the next person.”

And while EoY has reverted back to a, ties aside, five-artist race, Romeo says the criteria was left at “up to eight” to maintain flexibility. The challenge with inflexible parameters is highlighted, Romeo explains, by the 2009 Album of the Year category, which originally omitted Jamey Johnson’s highly regarded That Lonesome Song because it had not yet crested the criteria-specified 300,000 sales mark. “When we put that threshold in place several years ago it made perfect sense,” Romeo says, pointing to the decline in album sales and rise in digital singles as a factor in changing the criteria and re-tabulating that year’s results to include Johnson’s album.

“Yes, we were changing in midstream, but we were trying to adapt,” he says. “In the same way, the newcomer criteria allows for male, female, group and duo categories, but because there aren’t always enough people to fill all those categories, they fluctuate from year-to-year.”

As for Carrie’s fans, Romeo is sympathetic. “She’s our two-time Entertainer of the Year,” he says. “Do I think she should be in there? Yes. But I’m just one vote. The board made the right decision to go to eight. We tried it, but found it to be too much. The question you ask is, ‘Are we giving up two-and-a-half minutes to monologue and mentions I could be using to give a newcomer the opportunity to play music?’ That’s the balance you have to strike.”